100 incredible women outside downing st.

An announcement from the UK team

In response to the statement on the Girls in Tech London Facebook page, we are disappointed by the way in which Girls in Tech Global has chosen to separate from the UK team. Following discussions on growth, goals and the new GIT Global revenue model, we are no longer affiliated with Girls in Tech Global.

We are incredibly proud of all that’s been achieved over the past four years and appreciate the hard work, support and collaboration with our valued community that made it possible.

During this time, we have built up a passionate community of over 10,000+, supported and run a plethora of events ranging from conferences, panels and networking sessions, to skills, CV, and coaching workshops.

Highlights include bringing 40 women together to meet prominent female role models at 10 Downing Street, collaborating with other female and tech networks, a weekend workshop teaching 100 women to code, as well as the amazing success and results of our mentoring programme.

However, the journey isn’t over for this team. We continue to uphold our belief in supporting females and diversity in technology, business, entrepreneurship and innovation.

We will be putting on more events, programmes and workshops, as part of a new, exciting and fully-inclusive initiative.

Look out for the launch in the coming weeks. We will be celebrating with a launch party and look forward to welcoming you there!

Speak soon,

Emily, Lora, Josephine, Sally, Maya, Louise, Phoebe, Ella, Alessia, Laura, and the Associate team

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Soz Moss: DevelopHer Mentoring Programme

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Soz Moss

About the author: Soz is a graduate of the DevelopHer mentoring scheme. Her interests lie in people and politics, and is taking her digital marketing background out to Ethiopia for the next year. 

 

 

 

 

On a miserable Monday, working late in the office the inevitable, millennial questioning kicked in.

“WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE? WHY AM I HERE? WHY AM I SPENDING SO MUCH TIME IN THIS GLASS BOX?” I could go on.

Workwise everything was going ok. I’d been in a start-up creative consultancy for two years. We were growing, as were my responsibilities. I really liked the team and the work, but something didn’t feel right. I longed to do something different, to shake things up, experience a new way of living, challenge myself.

I realised I needed some help. Cue search terms ‘mentoring scheme London’. A quick browse led me to the DevelopHer mentoring programme. And the rest they say is history.

Within two sessions, I’d quit my job. Motivated to follow my genuine interests, I went through an extended interview process for a role I was told I would never get. Then I got it. Now I am off to Ethiopia for a year. A new challenge for sure.

Over the course of 6 months, the DevelopHer mentoring scheme has helped me in ways I never imagined. It’s worth saying that I’m really not one of those super organized people who think ahead when it comes to their careers. I’d never been to a DevelopHer event before, in fact, thinking about it, I’d never been to any career specific event before.

I’ve transformed into a real advocate for mentoring and self-development programmes. Listening to the advice of those who have been there, done that, got the t-shirt puts everything into perspective. Mentors are totally objective – they’re not motivated by any need to tell you what you want to hear. In fact, as I experienced, they are more likely to tell you what you don’t want to hear. There is nothing more motivating.

I now look at my career through an entirely different lens; I’m getting better at working out what I want, then getting out there to find it. I’ve learnt to never settle for less – our most recent mentoring session focused on negotiation, the next day I walked away from a job offer because it wasn’t on my terms. Two days later, I got the salary I wanted.

More than anything else, the mentoring programme has highlighted the power of sharing experiences. Every session, the mentees share a quick one-minute update around a theme. There is so much change amongst us between sessions; it’s phenomenal to recognize the speed of our growth. Between meetings our WhatsApp group is inundated with success stories – coverage in national papers one day, salary increases the next. It inspires the entire group. The energy is self-perpetuating.

And then there is the power of mentors sharing their experiences. This varied and dynamic team share how they handle a range of work things – pay, leadership, getting stuff done. Sometimes they tell us off for self-doubting, other times they just tell us we’re great. They’re total gurus and we’re all so grateful.

I’m not sure how we can repay everyone involved. Telling others that they have to apply for the next programme might help. Continuing to support each other will happen inevitably I’m sure. How about settling for rocking the industry? When it happens I can’t wait to hear everyone’s stories. No doubt it will continue to spur us and other girls on.

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DevelopHer Mentoring Programme Results

The first DevelopHer Mentoring Programme has achieved its goal of providing women with tailored mentorship from key figures in the technology industry to help progress their careers.

Over the course of the programme 60% of the mentees saw a great improvement in their negotiation skills which led to half of them achieving a promotion and half of the others started their own business, initiative within their company or simply started a new course to grow more skills. The programme consisted of expert panels on a variety of topics including negotiation, presentation and leadership skills, alongside speed mentoring sessions.

By providing their time and expert insight, the mentors from leading technology companies such as Google, Unruly, Lloyds Bank and Cult LDN, supported our aims to help raise the visibility of women in technology.

Key stats from the programme include:

  • Following a key session from Amplify coach Stewart Bewley, 91% of the mentees report their presentations skills have greatly improved
  • With networking opportunities at each mentoring session, 70% of the mentees are now totally at ease with networking
  • As a large proportion of the mentees have made significant changes to their careers since the start of the programme, 80% state they would not have achieved what they have without the mentoring programme

The first DevelopHer Mentoring Programme was a great success which the team hopes to emulate for years to come. It would not have been possible without the help and support from the mentors and of course the sponsors Not on the High Street and La Fosse Associates.

Those results were announced officially at a private graduation party hosted at Decoded on the 9th of March, where each of the mentees on the programme presented their own personal journey to Baroness Joanna Shields, our ambassador for this first programme.

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Credits: Alessia D’Urso for Girls in Tech UK Mentoring programme

“The digital world is incredible, but it’s our bonds with others that makes us human. Top women championing future leaders, taking on the mantle of role model, mentor and friend makes all the difference.

The fast growing tech industry is well placed to lead the way and encourage more women to reach the top. Mentoring young women is a vital effort in achieving this goal. It’s my privilege to support Girls In Tech [now DevelopHer].”

Baroness Joanna Shields, Minister for Internet Safety and Security, UK Government

100 incredible women outside downing st.

DevelopHer UK Mentoring Programme Graduation Party

Tonight we are celebrating the end of the DevelopHer UK Mentoring Programme with a graduation party, graciously hosted by Decoded.

Baroness Shields, Ambassador of the programme bringing mentors, will give a speech to congratulate the women that have embarked on the programme and taken steps to forge a successful career in tech.

Kathryn Parsons, Founder of Decoded, and the DevelopHer team will follow with short speeches on the need for more visibility to women who are working in tech and the importance of a supportive network to succeed.

DeverlopHer’s first mentoring programme cohort of 15 mentees will each present their story and experience of the mentoring programme.  A number of inspirational mentors will be attending as well as some of the hundreds of women that applied to the mentoring programme last year.

The programme results will be released on the night along a promotional video for the next programme starting in September 2016.

A very special thank you to Not on the High Street and La Fosse Associates for generously sponsoring the programme.

Evening agenda:

  • 6:30pm – Welcome drinks
  • 7pm – Speeches from Baroness Shields, Kathryn Parsons, Girls in Tech team
  • 7:30pm – Speeches from each of the mentees
  • 8pm – Networking, drinks & canapés

For press enquiries: please contact developher.org@gmail.com

#IWD2016: Celebrating Women in Tech

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About the author: Ashley Krupnik is a Senior Account Manager, Digital at Edelman UK with a keen interest in the technology sector. 

The tech industry is filled with successful, inspirational female founders and leaders. International Women’s Day (along with every day) is a time to celebrate women in tech and the progress made as a female collective.

Female Founders are important. They provide a different way of thinking and diversify the tech industry which is widely known as being dominated by men. Women make up approximately 25% of the tech industry (Huffington Post). Women are underrepresented in digital roles; although making up nearly 50% of the workforce in the UK, females only account for 20% of digital roles (DCMS).

Highlighting the success and gains made by women in the tech industry, here are a few notable women paving the way and taking a different approach that inspire me!

  • Marcela Sapone – CoFounder, Hello Alfred:
    • On the Forbes 30 under 30 list and winner of the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Startup Competition Sapone and her CoFounder have tapped into the millennial mindset and used consumer tech to free up the most valuable thing this generation has: their
  • Susan Wojcicki, CEO YouTube:
    • Involved in Google from the early startup stages, Susan is now one of the most powerful females in the US Tech scene as the CEO of YouTube. Working to further female voices and initiatives, YouTube has partnered with the UN on the Sustainable Development Action campaign to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Ruchi Sanghvi – First female engineer at Facebook, Founder of Cove later bought by DropBox, now on the board of Paytm
    • Ruchi has been in the tech industry for nearly a decade, inserting herself in the male dominated industry from the outset, becoming the first female engineer at Facebook. Continuing to lead within the industry she developed her own company Cove, worked as the VP of Ops at DropBox and is now working with Patym.
  • Nancy Hua – Founder of Apptimize:
    • First hearing about Nancy Hua’s work as part of the Y Combinator, Nancy Hua left a male dominated industry of trading to forge her way in another, the start-up scene. Optimistic about the future of females in the tech industry, Nancy Hua believes the cone of possibility is expanding and more people will be able to enter the tech space and choose based on goals rather than conventional boundaries.

All of these women are pushing boundaries, challenging the status quo and seeking to bring other females up the tech ladder with them.

Today is a day not only to celebrate the achievements of specific women in tech but to come together as a collective and work to achieve even more. There are multiple reasons why females don’t enter the tech field from insufficient early stage STEM education, lack of awareness, intimidation, etc. As women in the field we can all do our part to educate, raise awareness, encourage and inspire other women to come on the tech journey with us.

Initiatives like the Sephora Accelerate program are looking to target female founders and help them make it in the beauty space where the number of female-founded companies are still underrepresented.

The DCMS (Department for Culture, Media & Sport) is also hosting a Women in Digital round table to unpack the barriers preventing women from undertaking digital roles. Closing shortly as the discussion is on International Women’s Day, a survey is available to share your opinion on the changes that need to be made. Have your say here!

Some of the resources (Outside of GIT!) that are bringing women together to inspire and encourage a larger presence in the tech space I follow are below – have a look!

  • Women Tech Founders – inspiring women to use technology to reach their dreams.
  • Blooming Founders – a network for early stage female entrepreneurs.
  • Female Founder Fridays – interviews with amazing female founders every Friday, sign up for the newsletter!
  • Rocket Podcast – one of the few female only tech podcasts out there with a little bit of movie, game and book talk in there.

There is also an amazing event on tonight to mark International Women’s Day #IWD2016: Powering the Next Generation of Female Tech Entrepreneurs at Campus London. Learn more and register your place here – sorry men, ladies only.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Ashley Krupnik, Senior Account Manager, Digital at Edelman UK

IG: @ashleymadeline / TW: @ashkrup

The Debate Over Kids’ Clothes & Gender Roles

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About the author: Sara Upton is a freelance writer and journalist, currently based out of London. She really enjoys writing about society and tech, especially when they relate to gender issues and inspiring women.

It’s pretty commonly accepted that when babies are born, boys are dressed in blue and girls in pink—at least much of the time. This seems to be pretty harmless, and it’s as much about classifying a newborn so that friends and family can easily recognise gender as anything else. However, a broader spotlight has been placed on the ways in which we continue to outfit and equip children as they grow up. And beyond blue and pink, there are differences in the approaches for boys and girls that some believe qualify as early seeds for gender discrimination. Also, they may ultimately have a lot to do with why women have often been drawn away from science and technology jobs in the past.

The clearest example of this issue that’s frequently pointed out is actually a toy, rather than a piece of clothing. Mattel has long been criticised for promoting harmful body image ideals through its line of Barbie toys. While this issue causes its own range of problems, Barbie has also been guilty of reinforcing negative gender stereotypes. According to Dr. Rebecca Hains’ blog, a 1992 Barbie toy used to be able to say, “math class is tough!” and things haven’t gotten much better in the 20-plus years since. Far more recently, in 2014, Mattel produced a book (I Can Be A Computer Engineer) in which a Barbie character stated she could make design ideas, but she would need male classmates’ help to turn the designs into a real computer game. To reasonable adults, these types of messages are nonsensical and easily dismissed, but it’s important to remember that the messages are being delivered to young girls and that they reinforce the idea that tough subjects are better left to men.

This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with girls playing with dolls in general. Some would extend the issue of gender discrimination to the fact that dolls are marketed to girls and action figures to boys, but there’s a counterargument to be made that toys have gone this direction because girls and boys naturally display preferences for dolls and action figures respectively. The only clear issue is with some of the messages that Barbie dolls, specifically, have conveyed over the years.

Barbie may be the most glaring problem in this conversation, but a potentially more influential problem has become apparent in the clothing industry. There have been horrendous messages reported on children’s onesies and shirts from designers and department stores all over the world. Some merely imply a difference in interest for boys for girls (for instance, by adorning girls’ shirts with polka dots and stripes and boys’ with planets and stars), which may fit perfectly natural into children’s genuine preferences. However, others pretty much directly state that thinking is exclusively for boys (such as a real girls’ shirt slogan that read “I’m too pretty to do math”). In 2014, Huffington Post outlined many of the problems, focusing on various collections and examples that highlighted the depth of the issue. Looking through them it’s quite clear that kids’ clothing has often steered boys toward homework, heroics, science, and careers, and pushed girls toward the exclusion of all of these in favour of being pretty or cute.

None of this is meant to suggest that the onesie you put on a baby is going to decide that baby’s career path, nor that there’s anything wrong with a girl choosing polka dots and a boy choosing planets. Again, sometimes decisions like these represent natural, independent preferences rather than any sort of path influenced by a mass marketing scheme. But children are easily influenced, and messages like the ones just pointed out can leave a deep impression, even on a subconscious level. It’s not a big leap to believe that some girls may grow up believing they’re simply not suited to pursuits in science and technology, even if they don’t believe they’re any less intelligent than boys. But on the brighter side, the fact that dangerous trends like these are making headlines has resulted in some real awareness and change.

Naturally, it’s a big help that news sites are highlighting the issue. We’ve also seen the rise of new clothing lines dedicated specifically and directly to bridging the gap between young boys and girls. In the UK, Tootsa has played a big role. The line was established by a mother who was discouraged about the existing options for kids’ clothes, and it’s now home to a number of gender-neutral designs parents can appreciate. Looking through their collection, it’s clear that there are plenty of different ways in which designers can put together clothing that places kids on even ground without sacrificing the fun elements that will make them actually like their clothes (such as animals and bright colours).

Whether or not gender-neutral clothing can ultimately make a significant difference remains to be seen, because this is a relatively new idea. Indeed, there have been legitimate questions raised about whether a gender-neutral upbringing might come with its own host of problems as well. But when it comes to issues of workplace equality and pursuits in science and technology, it’s hard to imagine the shift away from childhood stereotypes not having an impact. If girls are raised from an early age to believe that science and tech is for them too (if they’re so inclined), it only makes sense that they’ll continue with those interests later in life.

Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme – Got questions?

As the deadline for applications for the Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme approaches, (31st July extended deadline until Monday 3rd of August), we thought we’d write a brief blog post to give you the latest and freshest information.

When does it start and what is the format?

The programme will start on the 9th of September and will run for six months. It will consist of evening speed-mentoring sessions once every five weeks, with key members of the technology industry. Each session will cover a specific topic, this could be anything from top tips for startups, to how to negotiate a raise. Mentees must attend all sessions to get the most out of the programme. It is possible to miss only one session if strictly necessary, although we strongly advise you attend each one.

Can I still apply?

Yes – we have received hundreds of applications already but it does not mean that we have made any decisions yet – on the contrary, we are still hungry for applications. If you are an entrepreneur, or working within a very corporate company, or just thinking of starting your own company – the mentoring programme is still open to you. We have to repeat it here that it is less about what you do than the state of mind you are in at the moment. Do you have big unrealised ambitions and want to grow them? Then yes, the Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme is for you.

Who are the mentors?

Our mentors are 80% women and 20% men, because we do believe in and want to practice diversity. These are people who have outstanding achievements, are part of the Girls in Tech network and many of whom are already experienced mentors. The mentors are people we selected and genuinely interested in giving back and supporting talented women – they are people you can trust to be professional and confidential.

Can I see the list of mentors?

Not yet. We will communicate our list of mentors to you if your application is selected. However, prior to that, we are more interested in hearing about your own personal story, your motives and what you need from the mentoring programme – than how such and such mentors are essential for you to grow.

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How will the matchmaking happen between mentors?

There will be 10 mentors at each session, they will have received the your bios prior to the session. The mentees will present for one minute their questions for the evening based on the topic and any progress made from the previous week. Based on this and the bios, the mentors will select who they would like to mentor for that particular session.

If you are not selected by your chosen mentor that evening, you will still get an opportunity to informally network with them once the session is over.

Can I follow up with mentors?

Only if they give you their business cards. That means that they want to see and follow up with you.

I am not sure I am hungry for it enough…

Whatever stage you are at in your journey there is always room for development, learning and stretching yourself out of your comfort zones. Take a risk, push yourself and go for a new experience meeting new people, experienced mentors and learn from the best in the industry. Why not give your career a huge boost this autumn with the Girls in Tech Mentor programme?

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As a Chinese proverb says “one who stays near vermilion gets stained red, and one who stays near ink gets stained black” or said differently “one takes on the colour of one’s company”. The metaphor teaches us that one’s habit may change or come under the influence of other people, events or conversations. We hope that by taking part in the Girls in Tech London Mentoring Progamme it will encourage ambition, entrepreneurialism and positive attitudes amongst our mentees and mentors.

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Still have questions? Come to our breakfast networking event this Friday 31st of July, or post them on on our private Facebook group.

Send your application before Friday the 31st of July: mpapplications@girlsintech.org